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Team needs: NFC South

Atlanta
1. LB: The Falcons were gashed by the run until late last season, and the problems start in the front seven.  While Curtis Lofton is entrenched in the middle, the team could afford to upgrade over 34-year-old weak-side linebacker Mike Peterson.  Strong-side starter Stephen Nicholas is entering a contract year.  Atlanta has shown significant interest in Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri.
2. CB: Atlanta forked over serious coin to secure top free agent corner Dunta Robinson, but remains unsettled at the position opposite him.  Incumbent starter Brian Williams is coming off a torn ACL, Brent Grimes would be a dime back in a good secondary, and the Falcons don’t envision 2009 third-round pick Christopher Owens as more than a sub-package player.
3. WR: Harry Douglas is expected to return after missing last season, but there’s no telling how much speed he’ll have left coming off a torn ACL.  Speed-challenged split end Michael Jenkins also offers no play-making ability.  The Falcons need a dynamic after-catch threat with vertical skills to execute coordinator Mike Mularkey’s downfield passing attack.
4. DE: With 2.5 sacks in three seasons as a starter, former top-ten pick Jamaal Anderson is shaping up as a bust.  Situational rushers Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury have promise, but aren’t every-down ends.  Pro Bowler John Abraham turns 32 in a month.
Carolina
1. WR: With former No. 45 overall pick Dwayne Jarrett continuing to fall short of expectations and Muhsin Muhammad all but done, it’s time for the Panthers to give Steve Smith and new starting quarterback Matt Moore some help.  Smith, 31 in May, isn’t going to last forever, and Kenneth Moore would be Carolina’s No. 3 receiver if the season began today.
2. DT: The Panthers have gone cheap on their defensive line, and it caught up to them last year when Ma’ake Kemoeatu was lost for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.  Some serious beef in the middle would at least take pressure off reserve types Louis Leonard, Tank Tyler, Ed Johnson, and Corvey Irvin.
3. CB: G.M. Marty Hurney’s lowball tender for restricted free agent Richard Marshall hasn’t backfired yet, but Marshall is only under control for 2010 and the team remains vulnerable at nickel back.  The Panthers would be in a heap of trouble if Marshall or Chris Gamble got hurt.
4. QB: Moore and former undrafted free agent Hunter Cantwell make up the most unproven quarterback depth chart in the league.  At the absolute minimum, the Panthers need to find a developmental passer to groom as Moore’s long-term backup.
New Orleans
1. LB: Scott Fujita’s departure leaves former undrafted free agent JoLonn Dunbar atop the depth chart at strong-side linebacker, and Scott Shanle has been underwhelming on the weak side.  The Saints may give Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri and Daryl Washington of TCU long looks with the No. 32 selection.
2. DE: Newly signed Alex Brown gives the Saints credibility at left defensive end, but Bobby McCray’s chronic back problems leave room for an upgrade in the nickel rushing department.  New Orleans needs youth at the position with Brown, McCray, and Will Smith all 29 or older.
3. S: Darren Sharper remains unsigned, and the Saints are in no rush to move Malcolm Jenkins from cornerback to free safety.  Converted corner Usama Young has settled in as a core special teamer, but isn’t a likely option to replace Sharper full time.
4. RB: Saints coach Sean Payton has done well to limit Pierre Thomas’ workload, but values bruisers at tailback.  The team very nearly traded up to acquire Chris Wells in last year’s first round.  A two-down thumper like Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech could be an option with the 64th overall pick.
Tampa Bay
1. WR: The acquisition of Reggie Brown can’t hurt arguably the league’s weakest receiver corps, but he’s not a great bet to make a difference in the passing game.  Maurice Stovall and Michael Clayton also lack flash out wide.  A field-stretching, big-play threat could help franchise quarterback Josh Freeman make the most of his cannon arm.
2. DT: Incumbent “three technique” starter Ryan Sims managed just one sack a year ago and was too easily washed out against the run.  With the Bucs finishing dead last in rush defense, upgrading the interior defensive line needs to be a priority.
3. DE: None of the Buccaneers’ ends have proven capable of playing effectively on all three downs.  Greg White, or “Stylez G,” is a fine situational player, but shouldn’t top the depth chart like he does today.  Luckily for Tampa Bay, this is a deep draft for pass rushers.
4. CB: Aqib Talib is emerging as a true shutdown cornerback, but 35-year-old Ronde Barber is falling off a cliff opposite him.  It’s hard to imagine E.J. Biggers, Elbert Mack, or Brandon Anderson emerging as a serious candidate to supplant Barber.
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10 Responses to “Team needs: NFC South”
  1. Sporkdevil says: Apr 13, 2010 11:56 PM

    Evan Silva-
    “The Falcons’ run defense problems start in the front seven.”
    Falcons run D was 10th in the league. That’s a hell of a start on a generally piss poor write up.

  2. BigPorty says: Apr 14, 2010 8:29 AM

    Sporkdevil…
    I agree completely. Not to mention that Jerry was out for the entire season. We add him back, maybe put 10-20lbs on Anderson and scoot him in a little, and try to focus on Bierman and Abraham at end. Bierman a ton better last year than he did the year before. If we can get that same level of improvement in skills and strength this year as well, he may be well on his way to being an every down player. Then try to draft a DE with a good bit of size to play behind Abraham.

  3. Bite-me-Florio says: Apr 14, 2010 11:50 AM

    you guys want some tissue? is big bad pft pickin on your falcons? awwwww. STF UP!!! Falcon fans are worthless the Falcons are worthless ATL is worthless. Matt Ryan is worthless their D-fence is worthless, the falcons are a piss poor team. stop moanin and whinin already and start lookin forward to another sub-par year.

  4. Pantherfan10 says: Apr 14, 2010 1:55 PM

    You get bored and write this in 20mins?

  5. Geaux-Daddy says: Apr 14, 2010 3:08 PM

    I don’t know what Saints team you watched last year, but really…stopping the run and getting pressure on the QB with the front four are the primary concerns.
    Lynell Hamilton can fill the Mike Bell role, and PT and Reggie are still on contract at the main runners.
    Stop with the RBs in the first 2 rounds. It makes you look stupid.
    OLB, NT, DE…CB depth, TE depth, FS of the future if we’re convinced Jenkins should stay at corner…hell we can even look at back up QB late…HB shouldn’t be an early concern until next year when Reggie at earliest.

  6. FalconDevil says: Apr 14, 2010 5:19 PM

    Brent Grimes had 6 picks ( got robbed on one Drew Brees pick too) in limited starting time last season. What good secondary has a dime back that gets 6 picks in limited playing time? The Falcons run D was good and our 1st and 2nd round picks last year are returning from season ending injury. “the Falcons don’t envision 2009 third-round pick Christopher Owens as more than a sub-package player” Actually Thomas Dimitroff had his eye on Owens for years in college and thinks he can be a future starter. Just because you get paid to write doesn’t mean you know jacksh!t about what you are writing.

  7. lilhopo says: Apr 14, 2010 8:18 PM

    Saints already has fs of the future, his name is chip vaugh if you dont know look at the tape

  8. brasho says: Apr 14, 2010 10:19 PM

    Profootball Talk Team Needs:
    1: Sportswriter with a knowledge of football
    2: Draft prognisticator
    3: Less whining

  9. KingOkra says: Apr 15, 2010 1:24 PM

    I just can’t believe in an article about the NFC South on PFT didn’t have the three following quotes:
    1) “Sean Payton is an a-hole and a whiner.”
    2) “The Saints were lucky last year and not near as good as the Vikings.”
    3) “I’m sure Sean Payton is to blame for Ben Raperburger’s behavior. It has to be Sean’s fault, there is no other explanation.”

  10. WhoDatNation504 says: Apr 21, 2010 5:24 PM

    We clearly need to go defense in the draft 2 Repeat! All of you clowns who jus hatin man please FALL BAK!!! Last yr was jus a lil taste of da nxt 4 to come.

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